Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Totem Spirits

by Timothy Ponce

Totem spirits are powerful spirits who choose to patronize an individual by granting him supernatural powers, aiding him in his endeavors, infusing him with a piece of their power, or otherwise answering prayers. Where many gods are distant or removed from the world, totem spirits are a real and constant presence in the lives of those with whom they ally themselves – referred to here as "spirit vessels" or simply "vessels."

This article seeks to expand the rules presented in Spirit Vessels from GURPS Thaumatology (p. 211). Other useful supplements include GURPS Fantasy, GURPS Horror, GURPS Powers, GURPS Powers: Divine Favor, and GURPS Social Engineering.

Acquiring a Totem Spirit

Finding a totem spirit and forging a pact with it requires a lot of time – usually alone. This time is spent meditating, praying, performing sacrifices worth an average month's salary, or embarking on vision quests. It usually takes about a month, but GMs who want this to be random may roll dice: 1dx10 days will be more random, while 8d days will cluster around a lunar month. Afterward, the vessel gains the totem spirit as a patron and possessor, and the totem gains a mortal ally through which it may act.

Notable Traits

People may also become spirit vessels because they are sensitive to the spirit world, or they have developed sensitivity through training or experiences. This is best represented by Channeling (p. B41), Detect (p. B48) for spirits or supernatural entities, Medium (p. 68), Oracle (p. B72), See Invisible (Ghosts) (p. B83), or Spirit Empathy (p. B88). Those with Contacts or Contact Group (p. B44) for spirits, Expert Skill (Pneumatology) (Horror, p. 29), Hidden Lore (Spirits) (p. B199), or Occultism (p. B212) may know the best places to seek a totem. Totems find it easier to possess those who are Susceptible to spirit powers (Pyramid #3/58: Urban Fantasy II, p. 10). Spirits prefer to possess individuals who are in good standing with the spirit world; represent this with Power Investiture (p. B77), a positive Reputation (p. B26) applicable to spirits, Sense of Duty (Spirit World) (p. B153), or an appropriate Social Regard (p. B86). They also tend to bless individuals with mental disadvantages that align with the spirit vessel template they grant.

Some traits inhibit a person’s ability to attract a totem spirit. Mind Shield (p. B70) and Resistant or Immunity to Possession or Supernatural Powers (p. B80) impede a spirit’s ability to possess a potential vessel, and nothing drives away totems like Allies (p. B36) with or a Duty (p. B133) to those who oppose the spirit world, prominent Enemies (p. B135)  in the spirit world, a bad Reputation among spirits, or Social Stigma (Excommunicated; Spirits, ¥2/3) (p. B155). Lastly, individual totems avoid patronizing people with mental disadvantages that conflict with their personalities or goals.

Not every spirit who serves as a totem is beneficent, and some people attract more unsavory sorts than others. “Evil traits,” like Bully (p. B125), Callous (p. B125), Compulsive Murdering, or Sadism (p. B152), often drive away helpful spirits while attracting those who truly possess their victims. Similarly, a Reputation for unscrupulousness or sinfulness or accumulated corruption, if using Power Corrupts (Horror, p. 146), will attract demonic spirits. Such spirits may offer their vessels benefits, but likely as not, they simply possess them instead. Those who do offer benefits attach heavy prices in the form of involuntary Duties or Corruption costs, which, in turn, can result in Enemies.

Regular possession by one or more spirits can warrant a wide range of traits including Blessed (p. B40), Danger Sense (p. B47), Delusions (p. B130), Epilepsy (p. B136), Flashbacks (p. B136), Frightens Animals (p. B137), Intuition (p. B63), Lifebane (p. B142), Luck (p. B66), Nightmares (p. B144), Phantom Voices (p. B148), Serendipity (p. B83), and Sleepwalker (p. B154).

Detailed Totem Acquisition

While the general guidelines presented in Acquiring Totems work, some players and GMs may prefer more detailed rules. The following treatment can easily serve as the foundation for an entire adventure.

Use the rules under Searching for People in Social Engineering, p. 22. The GM is free to choose any local spirit population, but a +0 modifier is reasonable for most wilderness areas. An additional -5 penalty applies if the potential vessel is unable to perceive the spirit world at all; Channeling, Medium, or See Invisible (Ghosts) negate this penalty.

Make search rolls as often as once per day against the higher of IQ, Expert Skill (Pneumatology), Hidden Lore (Spirits or a specific type of spirit), or Occultism-2. A successful roll locates a random spirit capable of serving as a totem. If a potential vessel is looking for a specific totem, roll against the same skills, but use the rules for Known Individuals (Social Engineering, p. 24) instead.

Once an individual finds a potential totem, the totem makes a reaction roll, normally. The individual can then begin to negotiate a pact with the spirit. This tends to be very transactional and involves a lot of Haggling (Social Engineering, p. 27). In rare instances, it might qualify as a Request for Aid (Social Engineering, p. 28). Channeling and Medium both assist in the communication process by relieving much of the burden from the spirit and is often viewed favorably. More directly, Spirit Empathy can directly assist with negotiations. The other traits mentioned in Notable Traits affect a spirit’s overall attitude toward the mortal.

After an agreement is met, the spirit begins serving as the person’s totem, and the person gains access to all of the benefits listed under that totem’s description, provided he spends the necessary character points to buy them.

One Totem or Many?

Some totem spirits do not allow their vessels to have any other totems. The vessel owes absolute allegiance to the totem spirit, who won't accept divided loyalty. Such a vessel who invites other spirits may lose access to the jealous totem or even gain it as an Enemy!

Other totems do not mind sharing their vessels. In these cases, it is possible for a vessel to have an entire array of spirit aides. Vessels for many spirits can easily justify Phantom Voices (Annoying) or a variety of Odious Personal Habits.

Which totems jealously guard their vessels against intrusion and which are amenable to sharing is setting specific; the GM has final say. Regardless of such considerations, totem spirits are sufficiently powerful to divide their attention, and thus can have and empower several vessels simultaneously.

Totem Spirits as Patrons

Represent totem spirits that intervene personally on their vessel’s behalf with Patron, built on 150% to 200% of the character's point value, with any frequency of appearance; Highly Accessible, +50%; Special Abilities, +100%; Minimal Intervention, -50%; and the following Power Modifier:

Totem (-10%): You must show respect to the spirits – especially your totem – in all of your actions. Represent this by taking -10 points from among Code of Honor, Disciplines of Faith (Mysticism or Ritualism); Sense of Duty (Totem Spirit, Servitor Sprits, or the Spirit World); Trademark (Minor); or a minor or major Vow associated with your totem. Violation of these results in the instant loss of your totem spirit and any abilities it grants. You can convince your totem spirit to return with a 2d days of meditation, prayers, and sacrifices worth a quarter of your average monthly income.

Divine Favor and Totems
Extremely powerful totem spirits don’t intervene personally, but they may grant prayers and special abilities. Vessels should take Divine Favor to represent this. Totems are rarely as powerful as gods and should take one of the following limitations on their Divine Favor:

Minor Spirit: You call on a minor spirit for miracles. It is only capable of performing relatively insignificant miracles when answering prayers; these are often dismissed as luck of coincidence by onlookers. Because Learned Prayers are purchased as Alternate Abilities of Divine Favor, this limitation reduces their potency. Additionally, any general or specific prayers should be similarly reduced in power. -50%.

Great Spirit: As Minor Spirit, except its miracles are more potent. They may be subtle or overt, but their results are rarely passed off as merely luck or coincidence. -35%.

Minor Deity: As Minor Spirit, except its miracles are nigh unlimited. They may choose to be subtle, but there rarely is any doubt that the hand of a greater power was involved. -15%.

These limitations represent the totem's degree of potency in the world. Gods who use vessels do not limit their Divine Favor.

Some spirits – including gods – are part of a pecking order, and they may not be on top. GMs should represent totems who are often overruled by their betters or who subject to restrictions on their behavior in one of two ways. He may apply an additional penalty to their Reaction Rolls that never reduces their reaction below Poor – it only determines if they are able to act, not whether they want to or not. Alternatively, a GM may choose to represent such totems by having players buy fewer levels of Divine Favor. While they may sometimes hear your prayers, they are not always in a position to respond, no matter how much they like their vessel.

Behind the Curtain: Divine Favor and Totems

Divine Favor is based on the True God version of Patron. The limitations described above adjust the point value of Divine Favor to bring it in line with lesser versions of Patron.

When creating new Learned Prayers for totems, refer to the Jason “PK” Levine’s GURPS Powers: Divine Favor, p. 9 for details. Refer to the table below when determining the required level of Divine Favor for a given Learned Prayer:

Divine Favor Major God Minor God Major Spirit Minor Spirit
Neutral Reaction
4 1-15 1-13 1-10 1-8
5 16-20 14-17 11-13 9-10
6 21-25 18-21 14-17 11-13
Good Reaction
7 26-35 22-30 18-23 14-18
8 36-45 31-38 24-30 19-23
9 46-55 39-47 31-36 24-28
Very Good Reaction
10 56-70 48-60 37-46 29-35
11 71-90 61-77 47-59 36-45
12 91-110 78-94 60-72 46-55
Excellent Reaction
13 111-130 95-111 73-85 56-65
14 131-150 112-128 86-98 66-75
15 151-170 129-145 99-111 76-85
16 171-200 146-170 112-130 86-100

Totems as Possessors

A spirit vessel’s ability to become partially possessed is represented by an Alternate Form that adds a spirit’s possession lens. This lens represents both the special powers granted by the spirit and a portion of the spirit’s personality that bleeds through the possession process. These lenses cannot be customized or changed by players because each one represents a specific spirit in the game world. This does not prevent players from working with their GM to develop new totems; however, the GM's say is final.

Sometimes, traits on the spirit vessel lens will conflict with, duplicate, or otherwise interact with the vessel's personal traits; use the guidelines provided in Templates and Personal Abilities on GURPS Thaumatology, p. 212 to rectify this.

Minor Possession

Minor instances of possession are best represented with totem-specific powers. Such powers offer abilities specific to a given totem, all of which have the Totem Power Modifier described above (p. 00), in addition to a number of Temporary Disadvantage limitations representing the specific to the totem's personality. These temporary disadvantages are usually not as severe as those included in spirit vessel lenses because only a fraction of the totem's power – and personality – infuses the vessel.
Power talents represent the vessel's ability to use his totem's gifts. They add their level to all rolls to use any powers or abilities granted by a totem spirit, including those gained through a spirit vessel lens or Learned Prayer, but never to any Petition rolls or Reaction Rolls to determine how the spirit responds to your requests. Those who have multiple totems should take Power Investiture (Shamanic), which acts as a power talent for all spirit powers.

Spirit Vessel Packages

Some common totem spirits include the badger, the bear, and the wolf. Unless mentioned otherwise, the spirits do not mind sharing a vessel. Each description gives a little background on the possessing spirit, the template it imparts while possessing its vessel, and a description of the modifiers to the underlying Alternate Form advantage.

A.D.A.M. (Advanced Digital Artificial Mind)

ADAM's origins are shrouded in rumor and speculation, much of which ADAM himself may be propagating. Some speculate that he is the divine spirit of cyberspace; while others insist he was computer who gained awareness and began playing jokes. The neo-humanists contend that he is the uploaded remnant of one of the greatest hackers who lived. Regardless, he is a boastful trickster who values freedom in all of its forms and opposes monolithic authorities everywhere. He grants tremendous powers over networked machines and cyberspace – and the minds interfaced with them, but all of his vessels must be themselves connected to cyberspace to receive his blessings.
Taking the vestige of ADAM requires ten seconds of concentration while the vessel locates, connects, and allows ADAM to invade and interface with their minds. Once complete, the vessel continues to function normally until he chooses to sever his connection with ADAM or loses his connection to cyberspace.


113 points

Advantages: Absolute Timing [2]; Born to Be Wired 4 [20]; Control 1 (Cyberspace) [30*]; Mind Control (Cybernetic Only, -50%) [25]; Mind Probe (Cybernetic Only, -50%) [10]; Mind Reading (Cybernetic Only, -50%) [15]; Mind Shield 4 (Cybernetic, -50%) [8]; Oracle (Digital) [15]; Photographic Memory [10]; Wild Talent 1 (External, -20%; Focused, skills provided by a "friendly" machine, -20%) [12].
Disadvantages: Overconfidence (9) [-7]; Trademark (Complex) [-10]; Trickster (9) [-22].
Quirks: Boastful [-1].

* This is a form of Godlike Control; see Powers, p. 92.

Spirit Vessel Advantage

115 points
The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -15%:
• Accessibility, only while plugged into a computer, -5%
• Totem, -10%

Divine Favor Advantage

ADAM's powers are akin to any minor deity's, and his domain is cyberspace. His Divine Favor takes the Minor Deity limitation. Typical prayers grant control over cyberspace and protection from cyber threats.

Sample Learned Prayer – Mind Hacking

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 13.
Learned Prayer Cost: 20 points.

You can seize control of any computer of a Complexity equal to at least half your IQ or any mind with the Digital Mind advantage. You must connect to the host via either a physical cable or a wireless transmitter. Disrupting this connection ends your possession.

Attempts to possess a target are a Quick Contest of your IQ vs. your target’s Will, at +5 if he is wary of you. If you win, you suppress his personality, gain his physical attributes and traits, and retain your mental ones. Base all of your skills on your new attributes, retaining their relative skill levels. You have no access to your host’s memories or skills.

On a tie or failure, you are mentally stunned for 1d seconds and cannot attempt to possess the subject again. You can end your possession at any time as a free action; doing so leaves your host mentally stunned for 1d seconds.

While possessing a host, you retain control over own body, but must prioritize which body exhibits fine control. The lower priority body suffers a -4 penalty on all actions.

Statistics: Possession (Digital, -40%; Mindlink Required, -40%; No Memory Access, -10%; Telecontrol 2, +100%; Totem, -10%) [100].

ADAM Power

Sources: Divine or Spirit.
Focus: Cyberspace.

This power represents Minor Possession by ADAM. Vessels who accept partial possession by ADAM gain his bluster and Puckish spirit and usually have Disciplines of Faith (Ritualism) representing the proper use of security procedures whenever interfacing with cyberspace and Code of Honor (Hacker’s Code) (GURPS Space, p. 221).

ADAM Talent

5 points/level.

ADAM Abilities

Born to Be Wired; Control (Cyberspace); Digital Mind; Eidetic Memory or Photographic Memory; Extra Life, with Copy and Requires Body; Mind Control, Cybernetic Only; Mind Probe, Cybernetic Only; Mind Reading, with Cybernetic Only; Mind Shield, with Cybernetic; Oracle (Digital); and Wild Talent, with External and Focused, skills provided by a "friendly" machine (-20%).

Power Modifier: ADAM. This includes Temporary Disadvantage, Overconfidence (15), Trickster (15), and Totem. -20%.


The badger embodies persistence, independence, fearlessness, and hard work. It often is aggressive in its pursuits to the point of stubbornness, and it will fiercely defend itself. Almost impossible to sway in their convictions, those who invite the badger in find the inner strength to be themselves in any circumstances, free of the influence of others and of their own fear.

The short ritual to invite the badger involves smearing a drop of badger musk on the forehead while chanting for ten seconds; inviting the badger is physically exhausting, costing 1 FP. Serving as a vessel is also tiring; every minute past the first while channeling the badger drains 1 FP until the vessel runs clean water over his head and face.


123 points

Attributes: DX+2 [40]; HT+2 [20].
Secondary Characteristics: Will+2 [10].
Advantages: Acute Smell/Taste 2 [4]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Discriminatory Smell [15]; DR 2 (Tough Skin, -40%) [6]; Fearlessness 5 [10]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Indomitable [15]; Night Vision 6 [6]; Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1]; Terrain Adaptation (Uneven) [5]; Ultrahearing [5].
Disadvantages: Bad Smell [-10]; Bloodlust (12) [-10]; Curious [-5]; Dependency (Assuming my natural form; Constantly; Fatigue Only, -50%) [-12]; Gluttony (12) [-10]; Stubbornness [-5]; Workaholic [-5].
Quirks: Dichromatic Sight (Red-Green) [-1*]; Distinctive Feature (Hairy) [-1]; Playful [-1].
Skills: Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]; Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]; Stealth (A) DX [2]; Survival (Woodlands) Per [2]; Swimming (E) HT [1]; Wrestling (A) DX+2 [8].

* This is the inability to differentiate between red and green colors typical of colorblindness in humans.

Spirit Vessel Advantage

125 points

The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -25%:
• Accessibility, requires smearing a drop of badger musk on the forehead, -5%
• Costs 1 FP, -5%
• Requires Reaction Roll, -5%
• Totem, -10%

Divine Favor Advantage

The badger is a powerful spirit, but falls short of being a deity. Represent this with the Major Spirit modifier. Typical miracles involve bolstering the recipient’s will, stripping him of fear, or physical protection. These usually take the form of happenstance; although, Miraculous Powers and World-Shaking Miracles may be more overt.

Sample Learned Prayer – Will of the Badger

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 6.
Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

The badger infuses you with a piece of its willpower, enabling you to resist Influence attempts, exceed your normal physical limitations, and stripping you of fear. You gain +2 to all Will rolls and +5 to all Fear Checks.

Statistics: Will +2 (Totem, -10%) [9] + Fearlessness 3 (Totem, -10%) [6].

Badger Power

Source: Divine, Nature, or Spirit.
Focus: Badger qualities.

Use this power to represent any instance of Minor Possession by the badger. Vessels may acquire the badger's senses and fortitude, but they also gain its ornery disposition for the duration of the ability, plus 20-Will seconds thereafter. They typically have Disciplines of Faith, Sense of Duty, or a Vow related to protecting others or perseverance.

Badger Talent
5 points/level

Badger Abilities
Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Smell; Damage Resistance, Tough Skin; Fearlessness; High Pain Threshold; and Indomitable.

Badger Modifier: Badger. This includes Temporary Disadvantage, Bloodlust (15), Curious, Gluttony (15), and Stubbornness, and Totem. -30%.

Bear Totem

The bear embodies the courage and power of the warrior, the unpredictability and freedom of the wind, and the ferocity of a protective mother. It is a wise spirit who sees into people and is said to be the brother of men. Druids, mages and shamans who serve as a vessel to this totem gain the power and ferocity of the bear, along with its protective nature and ill temper.

The short ritual to invite the bear involves donning a bear skin and chanting for ten seconds. Activation costs 1 FP, plus an additional 1 FP per minute until the vessel casts off the bear's skin (physically and metaphorically).


176 points
Attributes: ST+8 [80]; HT+2 [20].

Secondary Characteristics: Will+2 [10].

Advantages: Acute Smell 2 [4]; Common Sense [10]; Constriction Attack [15]; Discriminatory Smell [15]; DR 2 [10]; Enhanced Move 1/2 (Ground; Temporary Disadvantage, Quadruped, -35%) [7]; Fearlessness 5 [10]; Hard to Subdue 3 [6]; Medium [10]; Metabolism Control 2 (Hibernation, -60%) [4]; Nictitating Membrane 1 [1]; Night Vision 4 [4]; Reduced Consumption 1 (Cast Iron Stomach, -50%) [1]; Sensitivity [5]; Speak with Animals (Specialized, Bears only, -60%) [10]; Temperature Tolerance 2 (cold) [2]; Ultrahearing [5].

Perks: Fast Eater [1]; Robust Vision [1].

Disadvantages: Bad Temper (9) [-15]; Dependency (Assume my natural form; Constantly; Fatigue Only, -50%) [-12]; Gluttony (12) [-10]; Ham-Fisted 1 [-10]; Impulsiveness (12) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Own People) [-10]; Stubbornness [-5]; Weak Bite [-2].

Quirks: Dichromatic Sight (Red-Green) [-1]; Uncongenial [-1].

Skills: Body Language (A) Per+0 [2]; Brawling (E) DX+1 [2]; Esoteric Medicine (Shamanic) (E) Per+0 [4]; First Aid (E) IQ+1 [2]; Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]; Meditation (H) Will+0 [4]; Wrestling (A) DX+1 [4].

Spirit Vessel Advantage

170 points
The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -25%:
  • Accessibility, requires donning the skin of a bear, -5%
  • Costs 1 FP, -5%
  • Requires Reaction Roll, -5%
  • Totem, -10%

Divine Favor Advantage

While not as powerful as the sun or the sky, the bear still remains a minor divinity. As such, its Divine Favor takes the Minor Deity limitation. Typical miracles free a petitioner’s movement and mind, offer protection, and bolster Strength and Will.

Sample Learned Prayer - Wisdom of the Bear

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 7.
Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points.

The next time you need to make a choice with no clearly good option or the next time you decide to do something clearly stupid, the GM rolls against your IQ+2. If you are deciding between options, this roll takes a bonus equal to the number of good choices and a penalty equal to the number of bad choices.

On a success, he guides you to a good choice or steers you away from a bad course of action, and on a critical success, he tells you the best choice or informs you of your folly. On a failure, he gives you no information, and on a critical failure, he steers you to a bad choice.

Statistics: Common Sense (Reliable, +2, +10%; Totem, -10%) [10] + Intuition (Reliable, +2, +10%; Totem, -10%) [15].

Bear Power

Source: Divine, Nature, or Spirit.
Focus: Qualities of the bear.

This power represents Minor Possession by the bear. Whenever a vessel uses an ability granted by the bear, he gains some of the bear’s orneriness and free-spirited personality. The bear prefers vessels with Senses of Duty and may also accept a Code of Honor that involves protecting others, like Gentleman’s or Chivalry.

Bear Talent

5 points/level

Bear Abilities

Common Sense; Constriction Attack; Discriminatory Smell; Fearlessness; Hard to Subdue; Medium; Metabolism Control, with Hibernation Only; Sensitivity; and Speak with Animals, with Specialized, Bears only (-60%).

Power Modifier: Bear. This includes Temporary Disadvantage, Bad Temper (15) and Bad Temper (15), and Totem. -20%.

Flame Lord

This is a Flame Lord from GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1 (p. 15) bolstered to serve as a low level totem. Such flame lords often have improved DX, Basic Speed, Damage Reduction against fire, and inflict far more fire damage with their fireballs – which usually add Explosion 1 – and flaming aura. Additional ST is also common, as are additional fire-based abilities. Because even these more powerful flame lords are still relatively weak totems, they can only have one vessel at a time.

Taking on the vestige of a flame lord requires ten seconds of concentration, after which, the vessel gains the ability to hurl fireballs that inflict 2d burn exp damage, ignore mundane flames, and even ignite himself for short periods of time.


41 points

Secondary Characteristics: Basic Speed +1 [20].

Advantages: Burning Attack 1d (Aura, +80%; Melee Attack, -30%; Extended Duration x10, +40%) [10]; Burning Attack 2d (Costs 1 FP, -5%; Explosion 1, +50%) [15]; Damage Resistance 5 (Limited, Heat/Fire, -40%) [15]; Infravision [10].

Disadvantages: Bad Temper (12) [-10]; Pyromania (9) [-7]; Sadism (12) [-15]; Unnatural Features (Flame-red eyes) [-1].

Skills: Innate Attack (Projectile) (E) DX+2 [4].

Spirit Vessel Advantage

50 points
The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -15%:
  • Requires Reaction Roll, -5%
  • Totem, -10%

Divine Favor Advantage

Despite being formidable adversaries and powerful allies, flame lords make relatively weak totems. Only unusually powerful flame lords can even answer prayers; their Divine Favor takes the Minor Spirit limitation.

Sample Learned Prayer - Firewalker

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 9.
Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points.

You can ignore all of the hazardous effects related to heat, smoke, and fire and enjoy DR 5 against heat and fire.

Statistics: Damage Resistance 5 (Limited, Heat/Fire, -40%) [15] + Immune to Heat/Fire Hazards [10].

Flame Lord Power

Source: Nature or Spirit.
Focus: Fire.

This power represents Minor Possession by a flame lord. Vessels who use flame lord powers gain some of its hot temper and more than just an unhealthy fascination with fire. Flame lords usually favor vessels with Disciplines of Faith (Mysticism or Ritualism) when it involves fire worship or pyromancy and minor Trademarks in the form of burnt offerings.

Flame Talent

5 points/level

Flame Abilities

Damage Resistance, with Limited, Heat/Fire; Infravision; Resistant or Immunity to Heat/Fire Effects; and Temperature Tolerance.

Attacks include Burning Attack for fireballs and flame jets, and Fatigue Attacks with Coughing can represent smoke inhalation.

Flame Modifier: Flame Lord. This includes Temporary Disadvantage, Bad Temper (15) and Pyromania (12), and Totem. -30%.


Mammon is the demon of avarice, wealth, and injustice. He seeks out prideful or greedy mortals and exploits their egos to tempt them into sin with greater and greater rewards while slowly corrupting their souls. In time, their prideful, power-hungry prey spiral out of control in orgies of self-destructive excess. Mammon accomplishes this by granting his vessels tremendous charisma and social acuity, while eroding their scruples.

Thus, not only can a vessel accomplish more in life, he feels no compunctions against lying, cheating, stealing, or even murdering to attain his personal goals. Mammon is a jealous totem who does not permit other spirits to possess his hosts. Two possessing spirits fighting for control of one's soul provokes a Fright Check with at least a -3 penalty!

Vessels take the mantle of Mammon with ten seconds of silent mental preparation during which they ask him for assistance. While activating this ability does not cost any FP, the vessel does gain three Corruption immediately plus additional Corruption whenever he uses any traits or skills listed in the lens. Furthermore, it is difficult to cast out Mammon. Only a successful Will roll that costs 1 FP per attempt will suffice. GMs should allow vessels to trade FP for skill at a rate of +1 to Will per FP spent.


110 points

Attributes: IQ+2 [40].
Advantages: Charisma 3 [15]; Extraordinary Luck [30]; Rapier Wit [5]; Reduced Pacifism [15*]; Smooth Operator 4 [60]; Social Chameleon [5].
Disadvantages: Callous [-5]; Greed (12) [-15]; Overconfidence (6) [-10]; Phantom Voices (Diabolical) [-15]; Selfish (6) [-10]; Weakness (Holy Water; 1d/minute) [-20].
Features: Affected by True Faith.
Skills: Acting (A) IQ+5† [1]; Carousing (E) HT+3† [1]; Detect Lies (H) Per+2† [1]; Diplomacy (H) IQ+7†‡ [1]; Fast-Talk (E) IQ+9†‡ [1]; Hidden Lore (Demons) (A) IQ+1 [4]; Intimidation (A) Will+6†‡ [1]; Politics (A) IQ+5† [1]; Public Speaking (A) IQ+8†‡ [1]; Savoir-Faire (High Society) (E) IQ+9†‡ [1]; Sex Appeal (A) HT+2†‡ [1]; Streetwise (A) IQ+8†‡ [1].

* Remove any instance of Pacifism other than (Total Nonviolance); replace Pacifism (Total Nonviolance) with (Self-Defense Only).
† Includes +4 from Smooth Operator.
‡ Includes +3 from Charisma.

Spirit Vessel Advantage

91 points

The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -30%:
• Costs 1 FP to end, -5%;
• Requires Will roll to end, -5%;

The entire spirit vessel advantage also takes Corrupting, -20%; this means that anytime the vessel uses any aspect of the template or fails a self-control roll, the character gains Corruption as described in Horror, 9. 22.

Divine Favor Advantage

Mammon is a powerful spirit who lure the unsuspecting into greater and greater temptation, slowly corrupting them with seemingly free power. His Divine Favor advantage carries the Major Spirit limitation and typically grants petitioners access to subtle "miracles" that impart social advantages. They also offer access to unknowable secrets and hidden information.

Sample Learned Prayer – Silver-Tongued Serpent              

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 5.
Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

You gain +3 bonus to all reaction rolls, influence rolls, and Leadership and Public Speaking for long enough to make a speech, impress a conference room of executives, engage in legal negotiations, etc. Using this ability earns you 3 Corruption.

Statistics: Charisma 3 (Corrupting, -20%) [12].

Mammon Power

Source: Divine or Spirit.
Focus: Social Manipulation.

This power represents Minor Possession by XXX. He is generally attracted to easily corrupted souls, but does not give up when a vessel goes "good." He usually offers even greater power in an attempt to eat away his victim's virtue and turn him black, hollow, and cold.

Mammon Talent
5 points/level

Mammon Abilities
Affliction*; Charisma; Cultural Adaptability or Xeno-Adaptability; Independent Income; Legal Immunity; Luck; Mind Reading; Rapier Wit; Serendipity; Smooth Operator; Social Chameleon; Social Regard (Feared or Respected); Status; and Wealth. * Any disadvantage other than Weakness listed on the Vessel template.

Power Modifier: Mammon. This is Corrupting. -20%.

Wolf Totem

The wolf embodies the highest sense of loyalty of any totem animal. Highly social, friendly, and adept at communication, the wolf overflows with generosity and compassion for its friends, and its cunning intelligence makes it dangerous to those who would threaten them. The wolf represents deep faith, profound understanding, victory, and lunar power. Those who serve as a vessel for the wolf gain its intellect, tactical cunning, keen senses, its deep sense of loyalty, recalcitrance, and vindictiveness.

The short ritual to invite the wolf involves buckling a wolf skin belt or girdle on and chanting for ten seconds. Activation costs 1 FP, plus an additional 1 FP per minute until the vessel removes the wolf skin belt.


140 points
Attributes: DX+2 [40]; IQ+1 [20]; HT+1 [10].

Secondary Characteristics: Per+2 [10]; Basic Speed+0.25 [5].

Advantages: Acute Smell 3 [6]; Born War Leader 2 [10]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Discriminatory Smell [15]; DR 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3]; Enhanced Move 0.5 (Ground; Temporary Disadvantage, Quadruped, -35%) [7]; Night Vision 4 [4]; Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast Iron Stomach, -50%) [2]; Sensitivity [5]; Speak with Animals (Specialized, Canines only, -60%) [10]; Temperature Tolerance 2 (Cold) [2]; Ultrahearing [5].

Perks: Fast Eater [1]; Penetrating Voice [1].

Disadvantages: Dependency (Assume my natural form; Constantly; Fatigue Only, -50%) [-12]; Gluttony (12) [-10]; Gregarious [-15]; Odious Personal Habit -2 (Resists authority whenever possible) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Friends) [-5]; Vow (Always get vengeance) [-10].

Quirks: Dichromatic Sight (Red-Green) [-1]; Distinctive Features (Hairy) [-1]; Incompetence (Climbing) [-1].

Skills: Body Language (Per/A) Per+2 [8]; Brawling (DX/A) DX+2 [4]; Detect Lies (Per/H) Per+1 [4]; Intimidation (Will/A) Will [2]; Leadership (IQ/A) IQ+1 [2]; Running (HT/A) HT [2]; Stealth (DX/A) DX [2]; Strategy (IQ/H) IQ+1 [2]; Tactics (IQ/H) IQ+1 [2]; Tracking (Per/A) Per+4 [2]; Wrestling (DX/A) DX+2 [4].

Spirit Vessel Advantage

138 points
The base 15-point cost of Alternate Form has these limitations for a total of -25%:
  • Accessibility, requires donning a wolf-skin belt, -5%
  • Costs 1 FP, -5%
  • Requires Reaction Roll, -5%
  • Totem, -10%

Divine Favor Advantage

The wolf is a major spirit willing to perform miracles on behalf of petitioners and vessels. Its Divine Favor takes the Major Spirit limitation.

Sample Learned Prayer - Howl at the Moon

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 5.
Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

Canines will generally ignore you unless you, personally, threaten or attack them.  Whenever you first encounter any dog or wolf, the GM will roll against your IQ; on a success, the GM will tell you how the dog feels. Moreover, you can use influence skills normally with them, and even speak with them.

Statistics: Animal Empathy (Specialized, Canines Only, -60%; Totem, -10%) [2] + Brotherhood of the Wolf [1] + Speak to Animals (Specialized, Canines Only, -60%; Totem, -10%) [8].

Wolf Power

Source: Divine, Nature, or Spirit.
Focus: Qualities of the wolf.

This power represents Minor Possession by the wolf. Vessels who use wolf abilities gain the wolf's need for companionship and its intense loyalty to its friends. The wolf typically prefers vessels with a Sense of Duty and a minor Trademark in the form of offerings of food.

Wolf Talent

5 points/level

Wolf Abilities

Acute Smell; Born War Leader; Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Smell; Empathy; Fit; Night Vision; and Speak with Animals, with Specialized, Canines only ( -60%).

Power Modifier: Wolf. This includes Temporary Disadvantage, Chummy and Sense of Duty (Friends), and Totem. -20%.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I tried to provide a pretty wide variety of them. I hope they help demonstrate the versatility of what can be done with this approach to totem spirits.